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06: A TEST OF ABEL

Written by
Joseph Frost
Draft
8/4/16
written for the 2016 31 Plays in 31 Days project

Joseph Frost, 2016


4550 Normandy Dr
Jackson, MS 39206
FrostJosephD@gmail.com
* member, Dramatists Guild of America

A barn or rough-hewn wooden room. Illuminated


primarily by kerosene lamp.
A man is chained up, his hands strung up to the ceiling.
This is KEEL.
Another man, wearing dirty overalls and no shirt
underneath, stands facing out an open window. This is
DORN.
Dorn pulls out a handkerchief and wipes his face.
DORN
Hot night. Moon aint giving no relief tonight.
(beat)
I said no relief tonight. You hear that? Moons up and we sweatin like noon.
(beat)
Might could be just be in here.
(beat)
You didnt do this just to yourself, you know. Im in here too. This is what I gotta do
now. You know that dont you. You know that.
(beat)
And it aint like you no stranger here. Like you come from somewheres else and curse us
with your plague like you dont know us from Adam, and we dont know you. Like this is
one of them acts of god coming out of the clear blue sky. No it aint.
(beat)
Abel cant betray Cain unless hes kin.
KEEL
Cain...
DORN
Hah?
KEEL
Cain... betrayed Abel.
DORN
Says you.
KEEL
Says the Bible.

2.
DORN
Thats just something they wrote down. I say Abel betrayed Cain.
KEEL
Never read your bible.
DORN
You calling me dumb?
KEEL
I didnt.
(beat)
You want me to?
Dorn kicks Keel in the back.
DORN
You should have read it. Then maybe you wouldnt have ended up here.
(beat)
But nah. Some people cant learn, I bet. You were gonna end up here no matter what.
KEEL
(through gritted teeth)
I could use some water.
DORN
Whats that?
KEEL
Water. Could use some
DORN
I bet you could. Its hot. Even though its night.
KEEL
They told you to give me water.
DORN
You were out when they said that. Out cold. You couldnt have heard that.
KEEL
You admit it.

3.
DORN
I dont have to give you water.
KEEL
They told you to.
DORN
I will give you water.
KEEL
Ok.
DORN
When I want to.
KEEL
Ill let them know when they get back.
Dorn grabs a bucket of water. He takes a drink directly
from it, spilling some water on himself. He sets down the
bucket.
Dorn plunges in his hand, flings the handful of water at
Keels face.
DORN
There you go.
KEEL
I didnt get any.
DORN
But I gave it to you.
Keel spits.
A moment.
DORN (CONTD)
It didnt have to be like this.
(beat)
This could have been different.
(beat)
You didnt have to be Abel.

4.
KEEL
Cain.
DORN
Abel. You shut your mouth. Im Cain here, boy. Dont you forget it.
KEEL
You got them mixed up.
DORN
I aint the one mixed up. Thats you. Youre mixed up. You done what you done, and
now your Abel ass is strung up out here when you could have been the fatty calf, but now
you gonna be the prodded son. And Im gonna be the one to prod at you. Me. Cain.
KEEL
You even know how to read the bible?
Dorn slaps Keel in the back of the head.
DORN
I read more bible that you even forgot. You didnt even go to church on Sundays. I was
there every week in the first pew, right next to pop. And he got the biggest bible in church.
(beat)
Youre the one whos mixed up. Always have been. Off running around. I got it straight.
I work hard, Im right there next to pop, every day, and even Sundays. If Im him, then
little me is-(slaps his hip)
Right here. And where are you?
(indicates the other hip)
Not right here. Nowhere.
(steps to Keel, grabs his jaw)
But me and pops got a plan.
Dorn lightly slaps Keels face. He steps to the corner of
the room.
KEEL
A plan.
DORN
Gonna teach you a lesson and answer a question at the same time.
(grabs a burlap sack)
Brought something home from church.
(drops the sack in front of Keel)
Just a little something. Well call it a test.

5.
KEEL
A test.
The bag moves slightly. It is a snake.
DORN
Meanest one we got at church. Bit pop more than once.
KEEL
Gave him a test.
DORN
That it did. Gave him that fever. But pop passed the test. How do you think youll do?
KEEL
Pops coming back.
DORN
Not for some time. Whats say we give you a test before he does.
KEEL
Pop wont like that. You know what he told you.
DORN
You dont know what he told me.
KEEL
You do.
DORN
Shut up. You shut your lyin mouth right now.
Dorn grabs the bag and opens it.
KEEL
Pop doesnt want this.
DORN
Thats not-KEEL
You do.
DORN
Stop it. This aint me.

6.
KEEL
Its what you wanted. Its why you followed me. Its why you caught me and put me in
here. This is you.
DORN
This is what needs to be.
KEEL
Pop doesnt want this.
Dorn shows the open bag to Keel.
DORN
You see this? This is it. Im gonna do to you what needs to be done. This is your test.
KEEL
You dont even know-DORN
This aint me. Or Pop. This is you. This is a test of you now. Either you live or you die.
Dorn taunts Keel, making snakes fangs out of his fingers.
Dorn strikes and bites Keels arm.
Keel leaps up and kicks Dorn on the side of the head.
Dorn drops to the ground, out cold. The bag drops to the
ground.
The rope holding Keel breaks under his weight, and Keel
flops to the floor. Keel rises and notices the bag.
KEEL
A test.
Keel takes the bag, and puts it over Dorns head.
A knock at the door.
Keel goes to the window, and jumps out.
Lights down.

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